2007 / Real Music
Review by Michael Debbage
It was only last year that Gandalf released the essentially perfect Sacred River that flowed with the fluid touch of an artist at his pinnacle moment, at least to date. To compare with his prior recording may feel like somewhat of an anticlimax when exploring Lotus Land. However, should you enter the Lotus Land as a separate adventure you will not be disappointed as his latest recording, once again, has all the dreamy qualities needed to carry you to the faraway lands of the mysterious Gandalf.
Lotus Land represents another true solo effort as the album is composed, performed and produced by Gandalf with absolutely no guest appearances. His multi instrumental performances include top execution on guitar, bouzouki, saz, sitar, keyboards and percussion. The bouzouki, saz and sitar express elements of Greek, Turkish and the Indian cultures respectively, furnishing the exotic touch one has come to expect from Gandalf.
The album opens in a very reflective manner with the rather subdued “A Seed Dreaming Inside”. Nevertheless, it is followed by the sitar driven “Life Is Love” bringing the album to life. The sitar theme is revisited later courtesy of “Just A Glimpse Of Paradise” as well as the closer, “Waves Of Delight”. They bring out the more exotic qualities of Gandalf.
In complete contrast there is the carefree and light “Where The Heart Finds A Home” that includes the gorgeous string and piano work of Gandalf that dances with his soft nylon guitar strings. Needless to say the song will certainly find a home in your heart as it is warm and inviting as a soft lush king size bed with 800 threads of smooth silky sheets. And if that is not inviting enough then journey on over to “Mystic Voyage” where the melody will whisk you away to distant sun blessed horizons. This is definitely the core and heartbeat of Lotus Land. Even its seven minute duration is not sufficient enough as this epic has it all from piano, guitar, strings and soft percussion all in the right spots. Simply put this is Gandalf at his best.
With the knack to integrate meditative qualities with memorable melodies making his work spiritual yet commercial at the same time, Gandalf continues to create his own musical niche. Despite these polarized genres, Gandalf blends these worlds like a master craftsman who knows visually exactly what he wants to say to captivate his audience without beating them into submission. Lotus Land will continue to please his faithful followers. Those of you that have not yet entered the mystical and peaceful world of Gandalf need to come and explore Lotus Land. It is an adventure you won’t soon forget.
February 2, 2007